Category Archives: Butterworth

From ‘Work Conquers All’ To ‘Aim And Achieve’

Not a case of badge-engineering that is so prevalent nowadays. Rather it symbolized the coming of age of a school.

My school in Butterworth – Assumption Boys’ School – apparently was an offshoot of St Xavier’s Institution, Penang, planted on the “ulu” mainland by the Christian Brothers.  And it also adopted the school badge of its more prestigious elder sibling, for a long time. 

When I entered Std One in 1962, we all wore that SXI cloth badge — stitched onto the pocket of our white shirts.  No one asked what “Labor Omnia Vincit” meant.

Then, circa 1968/69, a new Headmaster came onboard.  Brother Stephen was distinctly different from his easy-going predecessors. He decided it was time for us to step out of the shadows of Big Brother – with a new (metallic) badge and an inspiring  triple-A motto: Aim And Achieve. 

Butterworth – At The Crossroads

To be taken literally, this photo shows the junction in the middle of town, circa 1965.  It was where 4 roads met, viz., Old Jetty Road (towards left), Jalan Telaga Ayer (towards right), Jalan Kampong Gajah (into the background) and Jalan Bagan Luar (in the direction of the cyclists).

No hesitation for me though, as I made my way to school every weekday through it for the first 9 years of my school life. (Except, of course when the traffic lights in my path turned red).

The red bus belonged to the United Traction Company, and probably was on its run from Sungai Petani, or Alor Star.

The row of shophouses beside the bus was occupied by several cloth retailers – Chinese and Mamak ones.  That corner shop, “Hong Guan Company” was a favourite with my female relatives and my late Mum.

Mirages Over My Roof

In the days of my youth, I used to see Mirages over my attap-roof top.  These were not  hallucinations, but sure enough they got me underway as a junkie – an aircraft junkie, that is.

My house was just about 5km from the then RAAF airbase, and among others, Mirage III-0 fighters would roar over my rooftop whole day long.  It was fascinating to watch those tail-less delta-winged fighters in their takeoff climbs — especially at night, with orange -and-blue flames shooting out from their afterburners.

The shockwaves always managed to shake some little worms from the underside of my attap roof, and send them dropping down onto the floor, or anything or anyone that passed underneath them.  But no complaints from me.

I miss the Mirages — all I get now in Singapore are some loathsome crows and their “caw-caw-caw”.